What I learned from A Savage Art by AE Rawson
“Kate Savage is an artist who creates dark fairy tales from textiles.”
On opening the book, I was greeted with a prologue. I love a prologue as a way to kickstart my inner detective. My overactive brain was working the story out before I’d even started chapter one. The first chapter didn’t disappoint, and I was hooked. So much so that I lost a Saturday reading a Savage Art. The story flowed with hooks from chapter to chapter connecting characters and weaving together each of their stories.
Kate, as you can probably guess, is the main character in this book. Without giving anything away, she has like all of us ‘troubles’. I immediately identified with some of these and was called once again to stop and ponder aspects of my life as Kate experienced things in hers.
I know how and why I find myself where I do, and I am always open to a gentle call to examine how far I have come and what I am currently experiencing. It felt as if it was no coincidence that I was reading this book and being drawn to think once again about what I have learned in this adventure called life.
We often think that non-fiction is for personal development, yet I find more and more that it is works of fiction that have me reaching for my journal.
As we meet more of Kate, I felt another strange but creative call from the wilderness within. My art is long neglected. I suffer from imposter syndrome and feeling not good enough. It’s something many people who come to write books suffer from, and so I can identify with that desire which we keep under lock and key.
Long ago in school, we were given piggies to draw. Another class had sculpted these pigs, and the lesson was about shadow and light. I was naffed off to be drawing as I would have much preferred to make the pig. So I scribbled what I saw quickly and in a deep yet ‘bored’ way. Such was the beauty of my picture that it was put on display. I was horrified. I wanted to hide and hide my art as I had done all my life.
Meeting Kate reminded me of this, and I had what only I can describe as a growl of hunger rise up from the bowels of my being. I felt suppressed, repressed, depressed and deeply saddened that I have not allowed myself to express myself through a medium other than writing.
Of course, I write and that is a way for my soul to soar, but with this longing came the realisation that this is an additional dimension of who I am and it needs to be expressed.
It was not lost on me that before I started to read Ann’s book, I was in the middle of creating my 2018 words in wire to go on my office wall. Every year I choose three words which are about how I want to live my life. For 2018 the words are faith, fun and love. I’ve sat with my journal and written about what these mean to me and how I can live according to their energetic vibration. As I look at them, I can still see Kate diving into her work.
What I adored as I found myself lost in Kate’s expression of her art was that it felt beyond passion. As if she was journaling her pain through creativity. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but her art also felt like she was ripping off her clothes to expose her hidden desires and sexuality.
Devastated by the death of her assistant and unable to accept the official explanations, she begins to dig deeper and finds herself being seduced into an erotically charged and potentially dangerous world.
Kates sexuality comes into play as she decides to explore it in pursuit of answers about her assistant Rowena. At this point, I did wonder how far Ann had gone to research this. Was this a ‘silent’ part of her life that she was teasing us with? In my mind, I had visions of her dressed to kill and playing dominatrix games not far removed from the stories that surrounded Cynthia Payne. Although that which Ann describes reaches far deeper into a side of life that is not for those with a gentle disposition.
I later discovered that this was not her experience, but that she had been privileged to meet people from ‘the scene’ who were able to assist. It never ceases to amaze me how much research goes into novels that many might miss as they while away their time trying to sort out whodunnit. The scenes were vivid enough for a highly visual person like me to get a good picture of what was going on.
While I enjoyed this exploration, I was equally saddened by the exploitation, corruption and balance of power aspects which will naturally be based on real life – it usually is. I’ve never baulked anyone’s sexual preferences, experiences, or definition of ‘normal’, but I did find myself wondering why anyone would want to punish themselves and give their power away. Each to their own, I suppose. None the less, I was pleased that Ann was able to delve into this as a reminder that there is a fine line between what is safe and curious and what isn’t. And if truth be told I love exploring how other people live and play. And despite the darker side, it was ‘fun’ to be taken on this adventure.
In this thoughtful sensual book AE Rawson skilfully weaves together the strands of a traditional crime thriller with the seductive and erotic possibilities bound within artistic and BDSM subcultures to which few people are ever permitted access.
I’m full of admiration for how Ann has researched and used her very vivid imagination to draw the fragments of one person together. I often think that avid readers searching for free books forget how much of a writer’s time, life and soul go into creating a story. If an author chooses to do low cost or free marketing so be it, but please let’s always pay something for a book as a sign of respect for all of the author’s hard work.
Thank you, Ann, for writing your book, and I am very much looking forward to book two.
You can find out more about AE Rawson and A Savage Art by visiting Ann’s website
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